On the IMEKO 2013 Joint Symposium in Genoa, Italy

The most recent instance of the IMEKO (International Measurement Confederation) joint symposium (which now also includes TC-13, the technical committee on measurements in biology and health care, along with TC-1 on Measurement Science and TC-7 on Metrology Education) was held in Genoa, Italy, September 4-6, 2013. The papers presented are available in volume 459 of the Journal of Physics Conference Series at http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/459/ .

Mari and Wilson’s keynote providing a “gentle introduction to Rasch measurement models for metrologists” will be of special interest. Additional Rasch-oriented presentations were made by Maul, Torres-Irribarra, and Wilson; Camargo and Henson; Bezruczko; Stenner; Massof; Stephanou, Pendrill; and Fisher. Readers may also be interested in related work presented by Benoit, Crenna, Rossi, Granovskii, Pavese, Ruhm, Thomas, and others.

An exciting new dialogue between the natural and social sciences is underway. Each has much to learn from the other. Metrology has had little need to attend to the individual-level stochastic processes structuring invariant cognitive and behavioral constructs, and measurement practice in psychology and the social sciences has everything to learn about the value of local traceability to globally uniform units. Everyone interested in contributing to or learning from this dialogue is invited to make their voices heard.

A photo of a majority of the Genoa symposium attendees is available at http://spectronet.de/de/vortraege_bilder/vortraege_2013/15th-joint-international-imeko-tc1tc7tc13-symposiu_hlms3467.html.

A number of presentations involving Rasch measurement models, methods, and results were made at previous IMEKO symposia in Annecy (France), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), and Jena (Germany) in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively (Fisher, 2009, 2010, 2011). A paper based on Mark Wilson’s keynote address at the 2011 meeting has recently been published in the IMEKO journal, Measurement (Wilson, 2013).

This journal also has a forthcoming celebration of the work of the late Ludwik Finkelstein in press (volume 46, number 8, pp. 2885-2992). Finkelstein made a large number of foundational contributions to educational and conceptual issues in measurement science, and had a special interest in exploring the possibility of a unified science of measurement applicable across the natural and social sciences (see, for instance, Finkelstein, 2003, 2009, 2010).

Wilson’s keynote at the Jena IMEKO symposium in 2011 was given at the invitation of Luca Mari, an engineer and philosopher of measurement based at the Universite Cattaneo, in Castellanza, Italy. Wilson reciprocated the invitation by bringing Mari to last summer’s International Meeting of the Psychometric Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mari gave a well-attended workshop on metrology, and an invited address.

Mari is also be a visiting scholar in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, 18-22 November, 2013. In addition to his contributions to the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV), Mari is intensely involved in the ongoing revisions to the International Vocabulary of Metrology (known as the VIM; Joint Committee on Guides in Metrology, 2008), especially as this involves efforts continuing Finkelstein’s interest in integrating measurement concepts from all fields into a common frame of reference.


Finkelstein, L. (2003). Widely, strongly and weakly defined measurement. Measurement, 34(1), 39-48(10).

Finkelstein, L. (2009). Widely-defined measurement—An analysis of challenges. Measurement, 42(9), 1270-1277.

Finkelstein, L. (2010). Measurement and instrumentation science and technology-the educational challenges. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 238, doi:10.1088/1742-6596/238/1/012001.

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2008). Notes on IMEKO symposium. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 22(1), 1147 [http://www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt221.pdf].

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2010). Unifying the language of measurement. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 24(2), 1278-1281  [http://www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt242.pdf].

Fisher, W. P., Jr. (2012). 2011 IMEKO conference proceedings available online. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 25(4), 1349 [http://www.rasch.org/rmt/rmt254.pdf].

Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM/WG 2). (2008). International vocabulary of metrology: Basic and general concepts and associated terms, 3rd ed. Sevres, France: International Bureau of Weights and Measures–BIPM. http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/documents/jcgm/JCGM_200_2008.pdf. Accessed 17 October 2013.

Wilson, M. (2013). Using the concept of a measurement system to characterize measurement models used in psychometrics. Measurement, 46, 3766-3774.


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